For those of you that have not listened to the band Dawes, you don’t know what you are missing. This California Indie Folk band has a sound often compared to Neil Young and Jackson Brown, but to my ears, it’s a sound completely their own.
The band, which began in its earliest form as the post-punk band Simon Dawes, reformulated their sound after the departure of guitarist an co-songwriter Blake Mills . The band changed their name to Dawes (The middle name of singer, song-writer and guitarist Taylor Goldsmith) and the sound they began to produce was less loud and more lovely. A true maturation that happened extraordinarily fast, considering the age and experience of the members of the band at the time.
Fueled by the stunning, insightful and heartfelt lyrics of Taylor Goldsmith, one could easily attribute the success of the band to the songwriting alone. When Esquire magazine dubbed Goldsmith “The best young songwriter in America”, it would have been easy to dismiss the band as a backup to the lyrics. The reality is that this band is successful as a true sum of its parts, rather than one shining star, lyrically or otherwise. The maturity and insight in Goldsmith’s lyrics are an enormous factor in this bands success, but gorgeous story-telling alone does not make a band. Goldsmith, along with brother Griffin Goldsmith on drums, Wylie Gelber on bass and Duane Betts on guitar, meld together to make a sound that matches its lyrics in beauty, grace and passion.
The band, who captured the attention of mega-stars such as Bob Dylan and Jackson Brown very early on in their career, is about to release their fifth studio album, “We’re All Gonna Die” on September 16. This highly anticipated album, a follow-up to last year’s widely praised release, “All Your Favorite Bands”, is chock full of guest appearances including Brittany Howard from the band Alabama Shakes and My Morning Jacket’s Jim James.
I was able to obtain a press pass to see the band for the first time at The Egg in Albany, NY. The venue was not quite sold out, but the fans that were present made up for that.This band quite obviously draws a devoted crowd, and there wasn’t a fan anywhere around me that didn’t seem to know the lyrics to just about all of the songs being played. It was a joy to watch the pleasure in which so many of these fans took listening to the songs they loved.
The set list included When The Tequila Runs Out, from their upcoming release, but also included gems from each one of their studio albums and also stripped down and beautiful acoustic versions of How Far We’ve Come and Hey Lover, a Blake Mills cover. The band was engaging and interactive with the audience and had its fans enjoying every second of the spirited and energetic show. They certainly lived up to their reputation as one of the best live bands on tour this summer.
- I Can Think About It Now
- Things Happen
- If I Wanted Someone
- Somewhere Along The Way
- That Western Skyline
- From A Window Seat
- Bear Witness
- Fire Away
- When The Tequila Runs Out
- Now That It’s Too Late, Maria
- How Far We’ve Come
- Hey Lover (Blake Mills Cover)
- Take Me Out Of The City
- From The Right Angle
- A Little Bit Of Everything
- When My Time Comes
- Most People
- All Your Favorite Bands